PracticePrompt Blog

The 1-2-4-Memory Rule. The next step – Fancy a PIMMS Anyone?

Posted in Repertoire Building and Maintenance by elwynrees on January 14, 2010


What we need now is a PIMMS, no not the drink, but a Piano Information and Music Management System (PIMMS) to organise the data on all the pieces within a managed review plan.

Towards the end of last year and as the number of pieces had grown, keeping track of where each piece was in its progress through the 1-2-4-Memory rule had become more complex, even with just a few pieces.   I ‘d been writing  details in a diary (which works after a fashion).  But something always seemed to happen to throw it off track.  It was confusing trying to re-edit and re-jig the entries.   So after some thought and based on earlier work modelling various review algorithms in Excel (see the archives), I decided to have a shot at writing a Windows application to do all this automagically….

Enter “RepBuilder“.   I hate thinking up names for things, but this one has sort off stuck.    It’s a Windows applcation that builds a database of pieces.  

 Here’s just a few examples of the things it does….

  • You enter and edit information on a piece in a dialogue such as this:

  • You create a data set of pieces (your “repertoire”).  In my case is more a statement of intent than actual ability (click on image for a larger view)…


  • The “Current” tab at the top displays the list of pieces for practice and review this week:


  • Each week the program ‘moves’ the active pieces automatically and  sequentially through a series of study tasks:


The list of tasks has been expanded from those of the core 1-2-4-memory rule set.  Pieces can initially be entered as “Inactive” (do nothing), or “Activate” (and appear as ‘Week1’ learners after the next  weekly rollover cycle).  At the end of the routine cycle, they enter a period of autmatically increasing monthly reviews.  You can always tweak the status of an individual piece if you want to retain it in “review” longer or have additional initial study weeks.

On a preset day and and after a preset time (e.g after 02.00am on a  Saturday morning) it cycles all the pieces in accordance with the 1-2-4-Memory rule  and updates the worklist of pieces on the “Current” tab.  All these events are logged and auditable and the process is transparent.

The use and development of this program is going to be a fun project for this year. Meanwhile, I simply must get back to doing some practice at the piano keyboard rather than this one!!!!


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